MIC researchers seek volunteers for new study of stress and its effects.

MIC Researchers

MIC researchers seeking volunteers for new study of stress and its effects on the heart.

Recent research suggests that by having less than the recommended 7½ – 8 hours sleep, people may experience emotional and cardiovascular responses to stress which are comparable to those of people at greater risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.

The Department of Psychology at Mary Immaculate College (MIC) is currently seeking volunteers to take part in a new study of stress and its effects on the heart. The Sleep, Heart, and Health (SHH) Study will look at how a person’s style of emotional regulation can be affected by their sleep duration, in turn affecting how their heart responds to everyday stress. The MIC researchers are recruiting younger (18-25) and older (65 and over) volunteers to participate in the study.

According to the project manager, Dr. Paul Mulcahy, “As part of their busy modern lives, people often neglect to get the recommended amount of sleep, and this has the potential to make people experience negative emotions. Unfortunately, this can lead them to respond to everyday stress in a potentially harmful way, which has been shown to cause increased risk of cardiovascular diseases in the long term.”         MIC researchers

He goes onto say, “The findings from this study will enable us to better understand the links between personality, emotions, sleep duration, and cardiovascular diseases. They will also provide information for the development of health promotion strategies which can be targeted to the general population”.            MIC researchers

The study will compare different styles of emotional regulation and subsequent cardiovascular responses to stress by having volunteers attend a short visit to the Cardiovascular Psychophysiology Lab at MIC on two occasions – once when they are normally rested, and once while they have had about 40% of their normal amount of sleep.

During the lab session, volunteers will be asked to complete questionnaires and engage in short psychological tasks, and their cardiovascular responses will be measured using state of the art monitoring equipment. Researchers aim to enroll about 100 men and women as participants, and expenses incurred will be reimbursed. The study is funded by a New Horizons Award from the Irish Research Council.

For details on how to participate in the study visit the website here

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